I mentioned J.L. Loughnan in Part III of my series on beer in Mandate Palestine. He represented the London brewer Barclay Perkins, marketing its beer in Palestine.
I learned more about him, which I relate in these notes. As it doesn’t pertain to beer in Palestine, this post stands on its own.
It sheds, I believe, interesting light on a brewing executive’s life of the period.
A Letter of Import
On July 27, 1939 Barclay Perkins issued a letter to be delivered in person. It was signed by J.L. Loughnan, addressed to a firm in Christchurch, N.Z. It is short, but makes its point: to “introduce” the bearer, Egon Schoenberger, and requesting the New Zealand firm to help Schoenberger obtain employment and otherwise on his “hard road”.*
The writer states he had never met Schoenberger, but expressed regret that he had not done so. He said the letter was issued as a favour to a Paul Eveque of the Champagne district in France, a close friend of Loughnan’s.
Schoenberger, 24, was a Jewish refugee who had fled Nazi Germany to complete doctoral legal studies in Berne (Switzerland) on wine regulation. Eveque had arranged evidently with Loughnan to write the letter, to help Schoenberger settle in a far-away land. Schoenberger left his mother and sister behind, sheltering in Rheims, France with Paul Eveque’s help, and travelled to New Zealand unaccompanied, a seven-week journey by ship.
New Zealand had accepted him as a refugee due to his knowledge of the wine industry. Schoenberger remained in New Zealand the rest of his life. On his death his daughter contributed a box of her father’s papers to the museum, much of it in hard to read “cursive” German, whence the full story became known.
Schoenberger was from Mainz, on the Rhine. His family had owned a high-end sparkling wine business, and was prosperous before the Nazi persecutions.
Loughnan’s letter appears here (fully readable with some magnification). Many further details, images, and extracts from Egon’s diary are contained in the well-written, 24-part blog entitled “Egon’s Story” at the website of the museum. Numerous images of the winery are included, and additional ones may be viewed on the Facebook page of the museum.
The Schoenbergers made a particularly high quality sekt, following the Champagne method, hence no doubt their connection to Taittinger, where Eveque worked.
Whether Loughnan’s time in Palestine had any impact on the letter I don’t know, but I incline that it did. Loughnan probably knew Eveque through trade circles, as some British breweries distributed wines through their wine and spirits divisions.
There seems no prior connection between the Schoenberger wine business and Barclay Perkins, that I am aware of.
Probably many people in many countries at the time had been asked to provide the kind of help Paul Eveque of Taittinger Champagne provided to the Schoenberger family, and declined.
Paul Eveque said yes.
Probably many people in many countries at the time had been asked to write the kind of letter John Loughnan of Barclay Perkins wrote, but declined.
John Loughnan said yes.**
*It appears the firm were Chartered Accountants. Probably Barclay Perkins had dealt with them for its exports to New Zealand.
**Loughnan’s first name was John. I’ll have yet more to say of Loughnan later.